Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu lifts ban on construction of new settlements in East Jerusalem
Just days after a new U.S. president entered the White House, Israel's prime minister has lifted a ban on construction of new settlements in East Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu saying he intends to allow home building in the West Bank too. Construction on land that Palestinians seek as part of a future state is seen as a major obstacle to peace talks between the two sides. Jerusalem's local government has already approved permits for the building of hundreds of new homes. The decision came shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. That change seen is a key driver for Israel's actions. During his election campaign, Trump pledged to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem whose status as Israel's capital is contested by the Palestinians. Netanyahu is set to meet President Trump in Washington in February after an initial phone conversation that the Israeli leader described as "very warm".